Page images
PDF
EPUB

been some surmise that the reigning family would successful as a writer. The Author of Waverley have been displeased with the work. I can only was so persuaded of the truth of this, that he warmly say, it is the last apprehension I should have enter- pressed his brother to make such an experiment, and tained, as indeed the inscription to these volumes willingly undertook all the trouble of correcting and sufficiently proves.

The fferers of that melan- superintending the press. Mr Thomas Scott seemed choly period have, during the last and present reign, at first very well disposed to embrace the proposal, been honoured both with the sympathy and pro- and had even fixed on a subject and a hero. The tection of the reigning family, whose magnanimity latter was a person well known to both of us in our can well pardon a sigh from others, and bestow one boyish years, from baving displayed some strong themselves, to the memory of brave opponents, who traits of character. Mr T. Scott had determined to did nothing in hate, but all in honour.

represent his youthful acquaintance as emigrating While those who were in habitual intercourse to America, and encountering the dangers and hardwith the real author had little hesitation in assign- ships of the New World, with the same dauntless ing the literary property to him, others, and those spirit which he had displayed when a boy in his critics of no mean rank, employed themselves in native country. Mr Scott would probably have investigating with persevering patience any cha- been hly successful, being familiarly acquainted racteristic features which might seem to betray the with the manners of the native Indians, of the old origin of these Novels. Amongst these, one gentle French settlers in Canada, and of the Brulés or man, equally remarkable for the kind and liberal Woodsmen, and having the power of observing tone of his criticism, the acuteness of his reasoning, with accuracy what, I have no doubt, he could have and the very gentlemanlike manner in which he sketched with force and expression. In short, the conducted his enquiries, displayed not only powers author believes his brother would have made himof accurate investigation, but a temper of mind de- self distinguished in that striking field, in which, serving to be employed on a subject of much greater since that period, Mr Cooper has achieved so many importance; and I have no doubt made converts to triumphs. But Mr T. Scott was already affected by his opinion of almost all who thought the point bad health, which wholly unfitted him for literary worthy of consideration. Of those letters, and other labour, even if he could have reconciled his patience attempts of the same kind, the author could not to the task. He never, I believe, wrote a single line complain, though his incognito was endangered. of the projected work; and I only have the melanHe had challenged the public to a game at bo-peep, choly pleasure of preserving in the Appendix, the and if he was discovered in his “hiding-hole,” he simple anecdote on which he proposed to found it. must submit to the shame of detection.

To this I may add, I can easily conceive that Various reports were of course circulated in there may have been circumstances which gave a various ways; some founded on an inaccurate re colour to the general report of my brother being hearsal of what may have been partly real, some on interested in these works; and in particular that it circumstances having no concern whatever with the might derive strength from my having occasion to subject, and others on the invention of some im- remit to him, in consequence of certain family transportunate persons, who might perhaps imagine, that actions, some considerable sums of money about the readiest mode of forcing the author to disclose that period. To which it is to be added, that if himself, was to assign some dishonourable and dis- any person chanced to evince particular curiosity creditable cause for his.silence.

on such a subject, my brother was likely enough to It may be easily supposed that this sort of in- divert himself with practising on their credulity. quisition was treated with contempt by the person It may be mentioned, that while the paternity of whom it principally regarded; as, among all the these Novels was from time to time warmly disrumours that were current, there was only one, and puted in Britain, the foreign booksellers expressed that as unfounded as the others, which had never no hesitation on the matter, but affixed my name theless some alliance to probability, and indeed to the whole of the Novels, and to some besides to might have proved in some degree true.

which I had no claim. I allude to a report which ascribed a great part, The volumes, therefore, to which the present pages or the whole, of these Novels, to the late Thomas form a Preface, are entirely the composition of Scott, Esq., of the 70th Regiment, then stationed the Author by whom they are now acknowledged, in Canada. Those who remember that gentleman with the exception, always, of avowed quotations, will readily grant, that, with general talents at least and such unpremeditated and involuntary plagiarequal to those of his elder brother, he added a power isms as can scarce be guarded against by any one of social humour, and a deep insight into human who has read and written a great deal. The oricharacter, which rendered him an universally de- ginal manuscripts are all in existence, and entirely lightful member of society, and that the habit of written (horresco referens ) in the Author's own hand, composition alone was wanting to render him equally excepting during the years 1818 and 1819, when,

1 Letters on the Author of Waverley; Rodwell and Mar. tin, London 1822.

2 See Appendix, No. III. p. 18.

APPENDIX TO GENERAL PREFACE.

being affected with severe illness, he was obliged to new interest in the object, when it is opened, and employ the assistance of a friendly amanuensis. the internal machinery displayed to them.

The number of persons to whom the secret was That Waverley and its successors have had their necessarily intrusted, or communicated by chance, day of favour and popularity must be admitted with amounted I should think to twenty at least, to whom sincere gratitude; and the Author has studied (with I am greatly obliged for the fidelity with which the prudence of a beauty whose reign has been rathey observed their trust, until the derangement of ther long) to supply, by the assistance of art, the the affairs of my publishers, Messrs Constable & charms which novelty no longer affords. The pubCo., and the exposure of their accompt books, which lishers have endeavoured to gratify the honourable was the necessary consequence, rendered secrecy partiality of the public for the encouragement of no longer possible. The particulars attending the British art, by illustrating this edition with designs avowal have been laid before the public in the In- by the most eminent living artists. troduction to the Chronicles of the Canongate. To my distinguished countryman, David Wilkie,

The preliminary advertisement has given a sketch to Edwin Landseer, who has exercised his talents of the purpose of this edition. I have some reason so much on Scottish subjects and scenery, to Messrs to fear that the notes which accompany the tales, as Leslie and Newton, my thanks are due, from a friend now published, may be thought too miscellaneous as well as an author. Nor am I less obliged to and too egotistical. It may be some apology for Messrs Cooper, Kidd, and other artists of distinction this, that the publication was intended to be post- to whom I am less personally known, for the ready humous, and still more, that old men may be per- zeal with which they have devoted their talents to mitted to speak long, because they cannot in the the same purpose. course of nature have long time to speak. In pre Farther explanation respecting the Edition, is the paring the present edition, I have done all that I business of the publishers, not of the author; and can do to explain the nature of my materials, and here, therefore, the latter has accomplished his task the use I have made of them; nor is it probable that of introduction and explanation. If, like a spoiled I shall again revise or even read these tales. I was child, he has sometimes abused or trifled with the therefore desirous rather to exceed in the portion of indulgence of the public, he feels himself entitled new and explanatory matter which is added to this to full belief, when he exculpates himself from the edition, than that the reader should have reason to charge of having been at any time insensible of complain that the information communicated was their kindness, of a general and merely nominal character. It

1st January 1829.

} remains to be tried whether the public (like a child to whom a watch is shown) will, after having been satiated with looking at the outside, acquire some

1 This refers to the Edition of 1829, in 48 vols., with 98 Engravings.

ABBOTSFORD,

APPENDIX TO GENERAL PREFACE.

No. I.

bolted. The bushes and brambles which grew around

and had even insinuated their branches beneath the FRAGMENT OF A ROMANCE WHICH WAS TO HAVE

gate, plainly showed that it must have been many BEEN ENTITLED,

years since it had been opened. While the cottages

around lay in smoking ruins, this pilz, deserted and THOMAS THE RHYMER. desolate as it seemed to be, had suffered nothing

from the violence of the invaders; and the wretched CHAPTER I.

beings who were endeavouring to repair their mi

serable huts against nightfall, seemed to neglect The sun was nearly set behind the distant moun the preferable shelter which it might have afforded tains of Liddesdale, when a few of the scattered and them, without the necessity of labour. terrified inhabitants of the village of Hersildoun, Before the day had quite gone down, a knight, which had four days before been burned by a pre- richly armed, and mounted upon an ambling hackdatory band of English Borderers, were now busied ney, rode slowly into the village. His attendants in repairing their ruined dwellings. One high tower were a lady, apparently young and beautiful, who in the centre of the village alone exhibited no ap- rode by his side upon a dappled palfrey; his squire, pearance of devastation. It was surrounded with who carried his helmet and lance, and led his battlecourt walls, and the onter gate was barred and horse, a noble steed, richly capurisoned. A page

2 It is not to be supposed that these fragments are given etchings of a plate, which are accounted interesting by as possessing any intrinsic value of themselves; but there those who have, in any degree, been interested in the more way be some curiosity attached to thoin, as to the first finished works of the artist.

and four yeomen, bearing bows and quivers, short after doing honour to the rustic cheer of Queen sworls, and targets of a span breadth, completed his Margaret's bailiff, withdrew to the stable, and each, equipage, which, though small, denoted him to be a beside his favourite horse, snored away the fatigues man of high rank.

of their journey. He stopped and addressed several of the inhabi Early on the following morniny, the travellers tants whom curiosity had withdrawn from their la were roused by a thundering knocking at the door bour to gaze at him; but at the sound of his voice, of the house, accompanied with many demands for and still more on perceiving the St George's Cross instant admission, in the roughest tone. The squire in the caps of his followers, they fled, with a loud and page of Lord Lacy, after buckling on their cry, “ that the Southirons were returned.” The arms, were about to sally out to chastise these inknight endeavoured to expostulate with the fugitives, truders, when the old host, after looking out at a who were chiefly aged men, women, and children; private casement, contrived for reconnoitring his but their dread of the English name accelerated visitors, entreated them, with great signs of terror, their flight, and in a few minutes, excepting the to be quiet, if they did not mean that all in the knight and his attendants, the place was deserted by house should be murdered. all. He paced through the village to seek a shelter He then hastened to the apartment of Lord Lacy, for the night, and despairing to find one either in whom he met dressed in a long furred gown and the inaccessible tower, or the plundered huts of the the knightly cap called a mortier, irritated at the peasantry, he directed his course to the left hand, noise, and demanding to know the cause which had where he spied a small decent habitation, apparently disturbed the repose of the household. the abode of a man considerably above the common “ Noble sir,” said the Franklin,

one of the rank. After much knocking, the proprietor at length most formidable and bloody of the Scottish Border showed himself at the window, and speaking in the riders is at hand-he is never seen,” added lie, English dialect, with great signs of apprehension, faltering with terror,“ so far from the hills, but with demanded their business. The warrior replied, some bad purpose, and the power of accomplishing that his quality was an English knight and baron, it; so hold yourself to your guard, for”and that he was travelling to the court of the King A loud crash here announced that the door was of Scotland on affairs of consequence to both king- broken down, and the knight just descended the doms.

stair in time to prevent bloodshed betwixt his at“ Pardon my hesitation, noble Sir Knight,” said tendants and the intruders. They were three in the old man, as he unbolted and unbarred his doors number. Their chief was tall, bony, and athletic; -“ Pardon my hesitation, but we are here exposed his spare and muscular frame, as well as the hardto too many intrusions, to admit of our exercising ness of his features, marked the course of his life unlimited and unsuspicious hospitality. What I to have been fatiguing and perilous. The effect of have is yours; and God send your mission may his appearance was aggravated by his dress, which bring back peace and the good days of our old consisted of a jack or jacket, composed of thick buff Queen Margaret?"

leather, on which small plates of iron of a lozenge “ Amen, worthy Franklin," quoth the Knight - form were stitched, in such a manner as to overlap “ Did you know her?"

each other, and form a coat of mail, which swayed “ I came to this country in her train," said the with every motion of the wearer's body. This deFranklin ; " and the care of some of her jointure fensive armour covered a doublet of coarse grey lands which she devolved on me, occasioned my set- cloth, and the Borderer had a few half-rusted plates tling here.”

of steel on his shoulders, a two-edged sword, with a " And how do you, being an Englishman,” said dagger hanging beside it, in a buff belt; a helmet, the knight, “ protect your life and property here, with a few iron bars, to cover the face instead of a when one of your nation cannot obtain a single visor, and a lance of tremendous and uncommon night's lodging, or a draught of water, were he length, completed his appointments. The looks of thirsty ?”

the man were as wild and rude as his attire-his “ Marry, noble sir,” answered the Franklin, keen black eyes never rested one moment fixed "use, as they say, will make a man live in a lion's upon a single object, but constantly traversed all den; and as I settled here in a quiet time, and have around, as if they ever sought some danger to opnever given cause of offence, I am respected by my pose, some plunder to seize, or some insult to reneighbours, and even, as you see, by our forayers venge. The latter seemed to be his present object, from England.”

for, regardless of the dignified presence of Lord “ I rejoice to hear it, and accept your hospitality. Lacy, he uttered the most incoherent threats against - Isabella, my love, our worthy host will provide the owner of the house and his guests. you a bed. - My daughter, good Franklin, is ill at “ We shall see—ay, marry shall we—if an Eng

We will occupy your house till the Scottish lish hound is to harbour and reset the Southrons hing shall return from his northern expedition - here. Thank the Abbot of Melrose, and the good meanwhile call me Lord Lacy of Chester.”

Knight of Coldingnow, that have so long kept me The attendants of the Baron, assisted by the from your skirts. But those days are gone. by St Franklin, were now busied in disposing of the Mary, and you shall find it !" horses, and arranging the table for some refresh It is probable the enraged Borderer would not ment for Lord Lacy and his fair companion. While have long continued to vent his rage in empty methey sat down to it, they were attended by their host naces, had not the entrance of the four yeomen, and his daughter, whom custom did not permit to with their bows bent, convinced him that the force eat in their presence, and who afterwards withdrew was not at this moment on his own side. to an outer chamber, where the squire and page Lord Lacy now advanced towards him.

6 You (both young men of noble birth) partook of supper, intrude upon my privacy, soldier; withdraw your and were accommodated with beds. The yeomen, self and your followers — there is peace betwixt

ease.

our nations, or my servants should chastise thy tion common to all nations, as the belief of the presumption.”

Mahomedans respecting their twelfth Imaum de“ Such peace as ye give, such shall you have,” monstrates. answered the moss-trooper, first pointing with his Now, it chanced many years since, that there lance towards the burned village, and then almost lived on the Borders a jolly, rattling horse-cowper, instantly levelling it against Lord Lacy. The squire who was remarkable for a reckless and fearless drew his sword, and severed at one blow the steel temper, which made him much admired, and a little head from the truncheon of the spear.

dreaded, amongst his neighbours. One moonlight “ Arthur Fitzherbert," said the Baron, “ that night, as he rode over Bowden Moor, on the west stroke has deferred thy knighthood for one year side of the Eildon Hills, the scene of Thomas the never must that squire wear the spurs, whose un Rhymer's prophecies, and often mentioned in his bridled impetuosity can draw unbidden his sword story, having a brace of horses along with him which in the presence of his master. Go hence, and think he had not been able to dispose of, he met a man on what I have said.":

of venerable appearance, and singularly antique The squire left the chamber abashed.

dress, who, to his great surprise, asked the price of “ It were vain,” continued Lord Lacy, “ to ex his horses, and began to chaffer with him on the pect that courtesy from a mountain churl which subject. To Canobie Dick, for so shall we call our even my own followers can forget. Yet, before Border dealer, a chap was a chap, and he would thou drawest thy brand (for the intruder laid his have sold a horse to the devil himself, without mindhand upon the hilt of his sword), thou wilt do well ing his cloven hoof, and would have probably cheatto reflect that I came with a safe-conduct from thy ed Old Nick into the bargain. The stranger paid king, and have no time to waste in brawls with such the price they agreed on, and all that puzzled Dick as thou.”

in the transaction was, that the gold which he re“From my king-from my king !" re-echoed the ceived was in unicorns, bonnet-pieces, and other mountaineer. “ I care not that rotten truncheon ancient coins, which would have been invaluable to (striking the shattered spear furiously on the ground) collectors, but were rather troublesome in modern for the King of Fife and Lothian. But Habby of currency. It was gold, however, and therefore Cessford will be here belive; and we shall soon Dick contrived to get better value for the coin, than know if he will permit an English churl to occupy he perhaps gave to his customer. By the command his hostelrie."

of so good a merchant, he brought horses to the Having uttered these words, accompanied with a same spot more than once; the purchaser only stilowering glance from under his shaggy black eye- pulating that he should always come by night, and brows, he turned on his heel, and left the house with alone. I do not know whether it was from mere his two followers;they mounted their horses, curiosity, or whether some hope of gain mixed with which they had tied to an outer fence, and vanished it, but after Dick had sold several horses in this way, in an instant.

he began to complain that dry bargains were un“ Who is this discourteous ruffian ?" said Lord | lucky, and to hint, that since his chap must live Lacy to the Franklin, who had stood in the most in the neighbourhood, he ought, in the courtesy of violent agitation during this whole scene.

dealing, to treat him to half a mutchkin. “ His name, noble lord, is Adam Kerr of the “ You may see my dwelling if you will," said the Moat, but he is commonly called by his companions stranger; " but if you lose courage at what you see the Black Rider of Cheviot. I fear, I fear he comes there, you will rue it all your life.” hither for no good — but if the Lord of Cessford Dicken, however, laughed the warning to scorn, be near, he will not dare offer any unprovoked and having alighted to secure his horse, he followed outrage."

the stranger up a narrow foot-path, which led them “ I have heard of that chief,” said the Baron-up the hills to the singular eminence stuck betwixt “ let me know when he approaches, and do thou, the most southern and the centre peaks, and called, Rodulph (to the eldest yeoman), keep a striet watch. from its resemblance to such an animal in its form, Adelbert (to the page), attend to aim me.” The the Lucken Hare. At the foot of this eminence, page bowed, and the Baron withdrew to the cham- which is almost as famous for witch meetings as ber of the Lady Isabella, to explain the cause of the neighbouring wind-mill of Kippilaw, Dick was the disturbance.

somewhat startled to observe that his conductor entered the hill side by a passage or cavern, of which he himself, though well acquainted with the spot,

had never seen or heard. No more of the proposed tale was ever written; “ You may still return,” said his guide, looking but the author's purpose was, that it should turn ominously back upon him;- but Dick scorned to upon a fine legend of superstition, which is current show the white feather, and on they went. They in the part of the Borders where he had his resi- entered a very long range of stables ; in every stall dence; where, in the reign of Alexander III. of stood a coal-black horse; by every horse lay a knight Scotland, that renowned person Thomas of Hersil- in coal-black armour, with a drawn sword in his doune, called the Rhymer, actually flourished. This hand; but all were as silent, hoof and limb, as if personage, the Merlin of Scotland, and to whom they had been cut out of marble. A great number some of the adventures which the British bards as of torches lent a gloomy lustre to the hall, which, signed to Merlin Caledonius, or the Wild, have been like those of the Caliph Vathek, was of large dimentransferred by tradition, was, as is well known, a sions. At the upper end, however, they at length magician, as well as a poet and prophet. He is arrived, where a sword and horn lay on ab antique alleged still to live in the land of Faery, and is ex table. pected to return at some great convulsion of society, “ He that shall sound that horn and draw that in which he is to act a distinguished part-a tradi- sword,” said the stranger, who now intimated that

66

IN A FRAGMENT OF A LETTER FROM JOHNB

ESQ

horn!"

he was the famous Thomas of Hersildoune, shall,

THE LORD OF ENNERDALE. if his heart fail him not, be king over all broad Britain. So speaks the tongue that cannot lie. But

OF THAT ILK, TO WILLIAM G, F.R.S. E. all depends on courage, and much on your taking the sword or the horn first."

“ Fill a bumper,” said the Knight;“ the ladies Dick was much disposed to take the sword, but may spare us a little longer-Fill a bumper to the his bold spirit was quailed by the supernatural ter Archduke Charles." rors of the hall, and he thought to unsheath the The company did due honour to the toast of their sword first, might be construed into defiance, and landlord. give offence to the powers of the Mountain. He 66 The success of the Archduke," said the muddy took the bugle with a trembling hand, and a feeble Vicar,“ will tend to further our negotiation at PaDote, but loud enough to produce a terrible answer. ris; and if” Thunder rolled in stunning peals through the im

“ Pardon the interruption, Doctor," quoth a thin mense hall; horses and men started to life; the emaciated figure, with somewhat of a foreign accent; steeds snorted, stamped, grinded their bits, and " but why should you connect those events unless to tossed on high their heads — the warriors sprung to hope that the bravery and victories of our allies may their feet, clashed their armour, and brandished supersede the necessity of a degrading treaty?" their swords. Dick's terror was extreme at seeing “ We begin to feel, Monsieur L'Abbé," answered the whole army, which had been so lately silent as the Vicar, with some asperity, “that a continental the grave, in uproar, and about to rush on him. He war entered into for the defence of an ally who was dropped the horn, and made a feeble attempt to seize unwilling to defend himself, and for the restorathe enchanted sword; but at the same moment a tion of a royal family, nobility, and priesthood, who voice pronounced aloud the mysterious words: tamely abandoned their own rights, is a burden too * Woe to the coward, that ever he was born,

much even for the resources of this country.” Who did not draw the sword before he blew the “ And was the war then on the part of Great Bri

tain,” rejoined the Abbé,“ a gratuitous exertion of At the same time a whirlwind of irresistible fury generosity? Was their no fear of the wide-wasting houled through the long hall, bore the unfortunate spirit of innovation which had gone abroad? Did horse-jockey clear out of the mouth of the cavern, not the laity tremble for their property, the clergy and precipitated him over a steep bank of loose for their religion, and every loyal heart for the constones, where the shepherds found him the next stitution ? Was it not thought necessary to destroy morning, with just breath sufficient to tell his fear- the building which was on fire, ere the conflagration fal tale, after concluding which he expired. spread around the vicinity ?"

“ Yet, if upon trial," said the Doctor, “ the walls This legend, with several variations, is found in were found to resist our utmost efforts, I see no many parts of Scotland and England—the scene is great prudence in persevering in our labour amid sometimes laid in some favourite glen of the High- the smouldering ruins.” lands, sometimes in the deep coal-mines of Northum “What, Doctor,” said the Baronet, “ must I call berland and Cumberland, which run so far beneath to your recollection your own sermon on the late the ocean. It is also to be found in Reginald Scott's general fast ?- did you not encourage us to hope that book on Witchcraft, which was written in the 16th the Lord of Hosts would go forth with our armies, century. It would be in vain to ask what was the and that our enemies, who blasphemed him, should original of the tradition. The choice between the be put to shame?” horn and sword may, perhaps, include as a moral, “ It may please a kind father to chasten even his that it is fool-hardy to awaken danger before we have beloved children," answered the Vicar. arms in our hands to resist it.

“ I think,” said a gentleman near the foot of the Although admitting of much poetical ornament, table, “that the Covenanters made some apology of it is clear that this legend would have formed but the same kind for the failure of their prophecies at an unhappy foundation for a prose story, and must the battle of Dunbar, when their mutinous preachhave degenerated into a mere fairy tale. Dr John ers compelled the prudent Lesley to go down against Leyden has beautifully introduced the tradition in the Philistines in Gilgal.” his Scenes of Infancy:

The Vicar fixed a scrutinizing and not a very Mysterious Rhymer, doom'd by fate's decree,

complacent eye upon this intruder. He was a young Still to revisit Eildon's fated tree;

man of mean stature, and rather a reserved appearWhere oft the swain, at dawn of Hallow-day, Hears thy fleet barb with wild impatience neigh;

ance. Early and severe study had quenehed in his Say who is he, with summons long and high,

features the gaiety peculiar to his age, and imShall bid the charmed sleep of ages fly,

pressed upon them a premature cast of thoughtfulRoll the long sound through Eildon's caverns vast, While each dark warrior kindles at the blast?

His eye had, however, retained its fire, and The horn, the falchion grasp with mighty hand, his gesture its animation. Had he remained silent, And peal proud Arthur's march from Fairy-land? he would have been long unnoticed; but when he Scenes of Injuncy, Part I.

spoke, there was something in his manner which

arrested attention. In the same cabinet with the preceding fragment, “ Who is this young man ?" said the Vicar in a the following occurred among other disjecta membra. low voice, to his neighbour. It seems to be an attempt at a tale of a different “ A Scotchman called Maxwell, on a visit to Sir description from the last, but was almost instantly Henry," was the answer. abandoned. The introduction points out the time “ I thought so, from his accent and his manners," of the composition to have been about the end of the said the Vicar. 18th century.

It may be here observed, that the Northern Eng

lish retain rather more of the ancient hereditary

ness.

« PreviousContinue »